Munira Alimire: It’s the end of the beginning

August 9, 2018
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I finally graduated from high school earlier this summer and it was an extremely emotional evening.

The swell of emotion seemed a little strange to me at first. I obviously haven’t had the typical high school experience, what with being a PSEO student. But as I watched my peers walk across the stage, I felt a mixture of nostalgia and excitement.

This graduation marked the beginning of the end, and in my heart, I didn’t want to believe that.

It’s finally beginning to hit me that, very soon, I’m no longer going to be in town. By the time of this article, I’ll already have started classes at Stanford.

There’s a sense of urgency in the time I spend with my loved ones — nobody wants to acknowledge how much will change by the end of the summer. I’m grasping at the last few moments I have with them, trying to fill them with memories that they’ll hold onto when they miss me, trying to make them all believe that when I’m gone, I won’t truly be gone.

I worry that I’m trying to make myself believe that, too, because every moment I say I can’t wait to move off to Stanford, there are a hundred more where I’m filled with this terror of leaving and letting go of things that once defined me.

I sometimes hang around downtown Rochester and I’m gripped with nostalgia, as I notice the beauty of the Plummer building, sit with friends at Thursdays on First or walk down a path I had never noticed before. I feel transported from my body as I think, “Soon, I won’t consider this place home anymore,” and I feel incredibly far away, even though I am still right here.

I’m trying to get ready for the move — picking up healthier habits, writing and rewriting packing lists, talking to the college students I already know and confronting the worries I have — but I’ve been told that things will be hard to adjust to, but I will still have the time of my life.

The only thing that’s keeping me calm is the fact that most of my peers are feeling this same mixture of hope and existential dread, fear and excitement and more.

I’ve grown so much in the last year, and I know I’ll grow a whole lot more over the next few months as I take the next big steps into my future. This both excites and terrifies me, because the future is filled with all these wonderful, scary, gigantic unknowns I’m diving headfirst into.

One day, I’m going to look back and think, “Huh, I shouldn’t have worried so much after all.” Right now, though? You’ll find me panicking over my packing lists.

Congratulations to the Class of 2018!

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